When Tenambit Sharks FC’s Club Secretary Jessica Vandenbruggen received an email about the MiniTillies program, she saw an opportunity her club couldn’t miss out on.
Skip forward a few months and the club’s MiniTillies program is in full swing led by hub coordinator Vandenbruggen, giving 18 young girls the opportunity to grow their football skills.
MiniTillies, formally known as MiniRoos Kick-Off for Girls is an introductory program that creates a pathway for girls aged four to nine to get into football. The program is delivered in a safe and inclusive environment.
“One of the biggest things that I noticed was that we don’t have many girls teams, only a few players scattered around. I received an email saying that the program was happening and I saw an opportunity for our club,” Vandenbruggen said.
“I know that there are quite a few girls on the fence and I thought it was a really good opportunity for our club and was keen to get us involved in the program.
“We have 18 players registered which is insane with ages ranging from four to eight. There are some players that are already playing and then we have some girls who are fresh and have never kicked a ball.
“It's amazing to be able to see them pick up some new skills and confidence each week.
“There are only three families that are involved with the club with the rest new to the club and many new to the sport of football.”
Vandenbruggen is enjoying the weekly sessions and being able to help build skills through progressive drills, games and focus on fundamental movement skills.
“It has been very rewarding.” Vandenbruggen said.
“The best part is seeing the girls pick up on the little tips that you have been giving them along the way, including how to get involved with the ball and the confidence that grows with those skills each week.
“I think it is important to provide a girls targeted program because their temperament is so different especially girls that are completely new to the sport. To be with people who are like you helps to want to be a part of it.”
Off the back of the program’s success, Tenambit Sharks FC is hoping to continue to grow their female participation into the 2024.
“It’s great to grow participation into the clubs and get more people involved. We want to be able to build our women and girls program at the club.” Vandenbruggen said.
“We will be ramping things up in this space but also want to get the girls involved early in the season with come and try sessions, MiniTillies and Kick-On for Women programs in the new year.”
Northern NSW Football Female Participation and Inclusion Officer Nat Boyd is thrilled with the instant impact the ‘World Cup effect’ has had.
“The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023ᵀᴹ was successful in encouraging young girls to play football and has had a big impact on the participation rates of girls in the northern NSW region,” Boyd said.
“The MiniTillies program allows girls to build confidence while learning the basic skills of the game without the added pressure of performing in games against other teams.
“I hope that these female participation rates continue to grow across the area into 2024.”
Help continue the legacy of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup by hosting MiniTillies at your club in 2024.
Club expressions of interest are now open for Term 1 2024. Apply HERE.
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